Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

UN Reports Expose Hot Air From World Leaders

Two United Nations reports have exposed the hot air from world leaders who have been assuring us since Kyoto and the 2004-5 world poverty campaigns that things are going in the right direction, and all we need to do is trust them. The facts on global poverty and emissions are not reassuring.
The reports come in the run up to the big UN Climate Change Conference in Nairobi later this month.

Ten years after global leaders first made a pledge that they would seek to halve the number of the world's hungry, almost no progress has been made, says the report from the UN Food And Agriculture Organisation. Worldwide about 854 Million people still suffer from undernourishment. In the developing world the undernourished population in 2001-3 declined by just 3 million from the 823 million estimated in 1990-1992 - a fall that is within the boundaries of statistical error.

In the 1970s and 1980s, before the current global neo-liberal 'consensus', the number of hungry people in poor countries fell by 137 million. Latest estimates, dating from 2003 show that after further dipping by 26 million during the 1990s, the number hungry in the developing world rose again by 23 million at the beginning of the new century. Population increases mean the percentage of those suffering from malnutrition in the developing world has dropped from 20 percent to 17 percent since 1990-1992.

On emissions, the industrial world's emissions of greenhouse gases are growing again, despite efforts under the Kyoto protocol to cap them to stave off global warming, the UN reported recently. This is the latest in a series of reports that do not inspire confidence in the efforts or seriousness of the current batch of global political leaders. Emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases declined by 3.3% in the 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union and shutdown of polluting industries in Eastern Europe. The rebound of these economies contributed to a 2.4 percent rise in emissions by industrial countries between 2000 and 2004. Under the Kyoto accord 35 industrial nations have given a commitment to reduce emissions by an average 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. The agreement is still subject to US disapproval, and the US is the biggest overall emitter. Of the 41 countries classified as industrialised, 34 increased emissions between 2000 and 2004, the UN reports. In the US emissions grew by 1.3 percent in that period and by almost 16 percent during the full 1990-2004 period.

Among Kyoto signatories Germany - which for some of the time being scrutinised (though no longer) had Green participation in government - achieved an emissions drop of 17 percent between 1990 and 2004. Britain's emissions dropped by 14 percent, but this must be weighed against the closure of polluting industries that have been exported to other countries, rather than being purely the result of progressive emissions control and investment in new technology.
Kyoto signatories Japan, Italy and Spain have all recorded emissions increases since 1990.
Source - Morning Star.

Time for redoubled efforts by the global green left and progressive movements.

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